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Tony Abbott and The PC Fun Police

August 6, 2012

As prescient a sign of what things will be like under the looming Coalition government, Federal Opposition leader Tony Abbott has announced that he will repeal existing racial discrimination that prevent vilification of individuals on the grounds of race and ethnicity.

In a speech at an Institute of Public Affairs function, Mr Abbott said that as prime minister, he would remove section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act as part of a “new debate about freedom of speech.”

Under the current law, statements are prohibited if they “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate” people based on race and ethnicity.

“Making the likelihood of causing offence to a group the test of acceptable behaviour goes way beyond the time-honoured remedy when a particular victim has been brought into hatred, ridicule, or contempt,” Mr Abbott told the function.

“A hurt feelings test is impossible to comply with while maintaining the fearless pursuit of truth” he said apparantly.

“If it’s alright for David Marr, for instance, to upset conservative Christians, in his attempt to have them see the error of their ways, why is it not alright for Andrew Bolt to upset activist Aboriginals to the same end?”

Well the difference I would’ve thought, is that religion is “a choice,” and if people want to believe in the great big scary sky fairy, then they might expect to encounter some ridicule, whereas someone’s nationality isn’t really something that they have a great deal of scope to determine.

It’s not that difficult a distinction to comprehend if yo think about it.

Mr Abbott’s speech came after he wrote in The Australian newspaper on Monday that section 18C of the act was a “threat” to freedom of speech.

So what is this pesky so-called “section 18C” of the act, and why does it want to ruin our way of life?

Thanks to our extensive research and editorial team at the Daily Trash Institute of Interstellar Research and Mollecular Science, we can bring you the act in its entirety, which is:


Offensive behaviour because of race, colour or national or ethnic origin

(1)  It is unlawful for a person to do an act, otherwise than in private, if:

(a)  the act is reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people; and

(b)  the act is done because of the race, colour or national or ethnic origin of the other person or of some or all of the people in the group.


Subsection (1) makes certain acts unlawful. Section 46P of the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 allows people to make complaints to the Australian Human Rights Commission about unlawful acts. However, an unlawful act is not necessarily a criminal offence. Section 26 says that this Act does not make it an offence to do an act that is unlawful because of this Part, unless Part IV expressly says that the act is an offence.

(2)  For the purposes of subsection (1), an act is taken not to be done in private if it:

(a)  causes words, sounds, images or writing to be communicated to the public; or

(b)  is done in a public place; or

(c)  is done in the sight or hearing of people who are in a public place.

(3)  In this section:

“public place” includes any place to which the public have access as of right or by invitation, whether express or implied and whether or not a charge is made for admission to the place.

Clearly, according to Mr Abbott, political correctness has gone too far.

Mr Abbott  defended News Limited columnist Andrew Bolt, who breached the Racial Discrimination Act in 2009 in articles he wrote on fair-skinned Aborigines.

The articles, published in 2009, were headlined “It’s so hip to be black” and “White fellas in the black”.

“Expression or advocacy should never be unlawful merely because it is offensive,” he wrote.

For far too long wealthy middle-class white conservatives have had to restrain themselves from launching racially-based tirades, and clearly this cannot be allowed to continue.

Mr Abbott said while the articles were not Mr Bolt’s finest work, the commentator should have been afforded “the right of freedom of speech.”

How much more damage is this act going to do..?

How much more racially motivated hate speech will we be denied…??!!

Who will think of the neo-Nazis…???!!!

Here is a transcript of Tony Abbott’s speech.  Oh god no yes it is.

As Olivia Illyria said on twitter:

“When Abbott talks about ‘freedom’ he means the ‘right’ for white privileged men to harangue minorities with impunity.”

It’s hard to argue with that.

Meanwhile, that other shining beacon of humanity and compassion Erica Betz, has sent a message to “Molecules” Gillard over the reemergence of the gay marriage debate.

In the wake of Tasmanian Senator Lara Giddings announcing that she will push for State Laws to be amended to allow marriage between same sex couples, Mr Betz has called on the PM to veto the law changes.

“Julia Gillard should come out and say I’ve made my position clear, the federal law is clear and therefore we will have it struck out in the High Court,” he said earlier today.

Don’t you just love the warmth and compassion of our elected leaders…?



43 Comments leave one →
  1. August 6, 2012 4:32 pm

    If you want “warmth and compassion” buy a dog.

    Amazing how the essential principle of Free Speech is now denigrated as a neo-nazi tactic in need of state control. In Leftist Fascism we trust, apparently.

  2. Splatterbottom permalink
    August 6, 2012 4:48 pm

    I’m definitely with Abbott on this. The legislation goes way to far. If you are “offended” so what? Have a little cry about it and get on with your life!

    This sort of legislation should be unconstitutional.

    In 2009 Fred Toben was jailed (that’s right jailed!) for not taking down his antisemitic website. That is the purest bullshit. It is wrong to jail people for what they say, no matter how offensive.

    “As Olivia Illyria said on twitter:

    “When Abbott talks about ‘freedom’ he means the ‘right’ for white privileged men to harangue minorities with impunity.””

    Illyria’s statement is actually a case in point. She has made a stupid, venomous and offensive statement. She has vilified men in her spiteful rant, but there is no way anyone should have any legal recourse. If I thought she had even a solitary brain cell I might bother arguing with her, but as it is I am content merely to add her to the list of the unutterably stupid.

  3. Splatterbottom permalink
    August 6, 2012 4:57 pm

    Here is what Abbott said: “The Coalition will repeal section 18C in its current form. Any prohibitions on inciting hatred against or intimidation of particular racial groups should be akin to the ancient common law offences of incitement and causing fear.”

    The law already deals with situations which incite violence or put a person in fear of harm. I agree with those restrictions on speech. Essentially the speech is part of another crime. So he is not talking about a blanket repeal, but rather the replacement of the existing prohibitions with prohibitions dealing with more serious harm.

    I certainly don’t want any Gaia-worshiping fruit-loop suing me when I ridicule their ridiculous religious beliefs. In fact ridicule of religions is a social good. Yet this stupid legislation gives legal redress to those offended by such ridicule. Fuck me dead!

  4. TB Queensland permalink
    August 6, 2012 5:13 pm

    If Abbott begins an ill informed slash and burn program in Australia like Noddy Newman has in Queensland – openly discussed in public by a lot of people … Gia help us all!

    Get used to one term governments … the 4BC campaign now is that government union bosses are “jockying for pre-selection” by targetting Noddy Newman’s destruction of services campaign … 4BC is a 24/7 election campaign for the LibNats … and honest, simple, folk just suck it up as theyscrewe them … so sad …


    sp, you’ll be intersted to know then that I had a visit from my local Jehova’s Witnesses this weekend … Itold them that “if I joined, your lot, I’d end up being member number 144,001 … they thought that was hilariously funny as the walked down my driveway and expleianed to the other four on the footpath what I’d said … they too laughed … the nicest encounter I’ve ever had with the JW’s … since I told them to FUCK OFF FOR CHRIST’S SAKE AND MINE!

    It worked for my sister I haven’t seen or from her since … but the JW’s keep on keeping on … maybe Katlicks have more klass … 😉

  5. Splatterbottom permalink
    August 6, 2012 5:18 pm

    Great riposte, TB. I might use that one myself if you haven’t already claimed copyright in it!

  6. No offence, but . . . permalink
    August 6, 2012 5:23 pm

    I seem to be a free speech extremist, by today’s standards. There’s not much in the way of speech or expression I think should be disallowed, and certainly not speech that offends. What qualifies someone as aboriginal should be a legitimate area of discussion, by the way, but it’s not. Perhaps it’s a question some find inconvenient rather than offensive.

  7. August 6, 2012 5:57 pm

    Rubbishing the hilarious made-up shit espoused by churches is a great time passer.

    I think reb’s point about the difference between race & religion being self evident is a good one. But, I’m not in favour of prosecuting any person for making offensive statements. The easily offended need to ignore what bruises their fragility or harden the fuck up… or say something more offensive to counter their boohoo diddums pain.

  8. TB Queensland permalink
    August 6, 2012 6:06 pm

    Great riposte, TB.

    I assume the “144,001” not the “FUCK OFF” one, sp … while both work it’s, much nicer if they fuck off laughing … please feel free to use either … BTW, thanks for asking, I always own the copyright anyway … 🙂 (no need register © in Australia … I can prove first ownership)

  9. TB Queensland permalink
    August 6, 2012 6:17 pm

    I seem to be a free speech extremist …

    Let’s face it, ToSY, your a Fuckwit™ no-one listens to … is that what your saying?

    Just askin’ …

  10. August 6, 2012 6:18 pm

    But, I’m not in favour of prosecuting any person for making offensive statements. The easily offended need to ignore what bruises their fragility or harden the fuck up… or say something more offensive to counter their boohoo diddums pain.”

    I respectfully disagree…

    I think it’s important to consider the context. We’re not talking about a few blokes being prosecuted over some jokes in a pub.

    We’re talking about the likes of Alan Jones and his ilk being perfectly entitled to refer to asylum seekers, for example, as “foreign filth” or whatever other distasteful terms they can conjure to whip up a frenzy of public outrage…

    I certainly wouldn’t want to see any current racial vilification laws amended that would enable Anal to ramp up his hate-filled rhetoric.

  11. August 6, 2012 6:19 pm

    ” your a Fuckwit”

    I think you mean, “you’re a Fuckwit..”

    What is it with old people and poor grammar these days….?


  12. TB Queensland permalink
    August 6, 2012 6:20 pm

    *** your *** … duh! you’re … OK! sreb! … smart arsed little Scottish WC, git

    I rather like the feeling of freedom I get with being a free speech extremist too, ToSY, it may catching!

  13. TB Queensland permalink
    August 6, 2012 6:21 pm

    FUCK … seconds and you had me you bastard! Anyway, it’s “apparently”! not “apparantly”, smartarse!

  14. Splatterbottom permalink
    August 6, 2012 6:49 pm

    “We’re not talking about a few blokes being prosecuted over some jokes in a pub.”

    We are talking about two Ministers (who left Pakistan after they were threatened with prosecution for blasphemy) being charged and convicted on the basis of a lecture they gave at their church. I.E. they were prosecuted in Australia for essentially the same offense. Unlike Pakistan, Australia does not yet have the death penalty for it yet.

    Jones should be able to say what he likes on his radio show. If he goes over the top he will be discredited and if he goes too far he will be convicted of incitement to violence. If he merely offends then he should not be prosecuted. We shouldn’t attempt to legislate good manners.

  15. el gordo permalink
    August 6, 2012 6:50 pm

    ‘What qualifies someone as aboriginal should be a legitimate area of discussion,’

    Strongly agree.

  16. August 6, 2012 6:54 pm

    “I respectfully disagree…”

    I’m inclined to want to shut up the likes of Anal & Bolt too, reb. I am repulsed by what I’d characterise as dogwhistling…but, here’s the rub…laws that over reach do so against both sides & neither side is perpetually in power. I’d rather have no capacity for any government to sanction those saying things that they don’t like.

    Dickheads like Bolt et al are damned by their own words, or not, depending upon your point of view. They should be dragged into the sunlight, staked & ridiculed…not censored.

  17. August 6, 2012 6:56 pm

    What splatter said.

  18. August 6, 2012 7:02 pm

    Abbott is just paying back Bolt for all of the frottage btw.

    One hand washes the other.

  19. August 6, 2012 7:08 pm

    Abbot and freedom? Well it’s like er . . . . . terminal and illness, or Spanish and inquisition, or bleeding and piles, or nausea and vomit!

  20. August 6, 2012 7:10 pm

    Well it seems that I am in the minority on this contentious issue.

    Therefore the only logical course of action is to ban the lot of you.

    Would you like the express of option that comes with a comfort kit, or the no frills option with vomit bag only?

  21. Scottish Banned permalink
    August 6, 2012 7:16 pm

    I think reb should be banned.

  22. August 6, 2012 7:17 pm

    I want my banning to be angry, emotional & unsubstantiated, with a large dollop of having my beliefs questioned & found lacking; please.

    Also, when I’m prohibited, can the remaining lickspittles who hold correct opinions rally around taking cowardly potshots, safe in the knowledge that they can now say whatever the fuck they want because I no longer have recourse to reply.

    Thanks…ban away!

  23. el gordo permalink
    August 6, 2012 7:35 pm

    I don’t want to be banned for what I say, but a blank space where the offensive words sit. There is much hilarity to be gained from this….working out the missing words.

    In regards to Bolt, who doesn’t support Assange yet he supports Bolt, deknarf gets it right.

  24. armchair opinionator permalink
    August 6, 2012 7:39 pm

    In a speech at an Institute of Public Affairs function,

    says it all really…

    Abbott will make it easier for the white majority to marginalise, demonise and attack minorities with hate speech. It is the hallmark of the Howard days, and it foreshadows the type of ‘national discourse’ we will be having…again!

    The IPA has long been running a campaign on behalf of the Bolter, donations and all. Since nearly all of right wing speech is hate/attack speech, they must have felt particularly aggrieved on Bolt’s behalf – we’re lucky they haven’t done a Breivik!

  25. el gordo permalink
    August 6, 2012 7:41 pm

    You talk a lot of crap, Kitty.

  26. Tom of Melbourne permalink
    August 6, 2012 8:05 pm

    Ban him ↖ and him↗ and them↘ and HIM!!↙

  27. armchair opinionator permalink
    August 6, 2012 8:06 pm

    I think it’s a fake debate.

    Free speech is a furphy, it’s all about the prospect of having media regulation in this country.

    Big money [IPA refuse to disclose their funding sources] can buy the kind of ‘free speech’ that ordinary people don’t have available to them. Want to deliver ‘your’ self interested and false message/opinion to the public, buy a newspaper, or run an expensive ad campaign. Drown out all opposing voices with your bought megaphones[IPA talking heads, jones, bolt etc].

    Ordinary australians don’t have the means for that. It is not a freedom of speech issue, it is the right for big money to buy more speech than others.

    Now, had the media made any kind of effort at self regulation, it wouldn’t have come this far would it?

  28. Tom of Melbourne permalink
    August 6, 2012 8:16 pm

    ⇑Ban her too⇑

  29. el gordo permalink
    August 6, 2012 8:17 pm

    ‘It is not a freedom of speech issue, it is the right for big money to buy more speech than others.’

    Government money, our taxpayer dollars, support the ABC (The Australian Brainwashing Company) and as neither the left or right are happy….we should dismantle it.

  30. Get Out! permalink
    August 6, 2012 8:19 pm

    It’s being reported that GetUp agrees with Abbott and Bolt on this subject, but that’s absurd.

  31. armchair opinionator permalink
    August 6, 2012 8:22 pm

    ‘Freedom’ Versus Truth:

    …Judged by the hysterical reaction of the media and its think tank boosters to the modest ideas of the Finkelstein inquiry, journalism’s ultimate arbiter is the market. If the press’ output is no good, the public will not buy it. Or so the story goes.

    It’s a neat trick that equates freedom of the press with the notion of an unfettered capitalist free market. Anything that stands between the desire of media companies to make a profit by selling audiences to advertisers must automatically be an attack on freedom.

    …In opposing the arguments of the apologists for lousy journalism, one is cast as a totalitarian and a meddling statist, as someone endorsing the government interfering in our lives. All this from a sensible suggestion from the Finkelstein inquiry that its proposed News Media Council be government-funded (and staffed by journalists and editors).

    …When reading these rallying calls, it serves to ask: How is “freedom” compromised by ensuring members of the public, the victims of poor journalistic practice, have a prominently published right of reply or correction? Whose freedoms are we protecting here? The truth is we are being asked to rank the rights of those who own the presses above those with no recourse to the megaphone that mass media provides…

  32. el gordo permalink
    August 6, 2012 8:23 pm

    ‘Australia does not need more regulation of the mainstream media but we do need a new debate about freedom of speech…’

    Tony Abbott…his minders are on song.

  33. armchair opinionator permalink
    August 6, 2012 8:53 pm

    Tony Abbott…his minders are on song.

    Yes, they are, the megaphones all raised in unison, trumpeting his out of tune message.

    Tony Abbott ‘s popularity depends upon the useful idiots believing his lies and not noticing his inconsistencies. Abbott is the ultimate snake oil salesman, manipulator and nazi styled propagandist who depends upon ‘freedom of speech’ and his paid media megaphones to be elected.

    Freedom of the press argument is deceitful:

    …Notice, though that these media barons and champions of free speech never guarantee that their media output is completely truthful and free from bias. They just spin the old line that “the public is smart enough to know the difference” – so essentially its “buyer beware”.

    I find this argument to be so ingenuous – its like saying that everybody’s smart enough to not be influenced by advertising even though, every year, billions of dollars are spent on advertising precisely because advertising does influence people.

    …I wish these “freedom of the press” spruikers would get real and start trying to figure out what percentage of people regularly have some difficulty identifying media bias, instead of pretending that we’re all superstars at it!

    And what about the people who have difficulty identifying media bias and untruth? Don’t we care about them? Don’t they have any rights? What if there are fraudsters and con men in the media, who are out to dupe these people? Doesn’t a compassionate society have a duty of care to protect these people from the worst excesses of such con men?…

  34. armchair opinionator permalink
    August 6, 2012 8:55 pm

    It’s being reported that GetUp agrees with Abbott and Bolt on this subject, but that’s absurd.

    Reported by whom tony? Do you have a link?

  35. Shirley Knott permalink
    August 6, 2012 9:10 pm

    Here ya go. Like I said, it’s clearly ridiculous.

  36. el gordo permalink
    August 6, 2012 9:13 pm

    ‘Tony Abbott ‘s popularity depends upon the useful idiots believing his lies and not noticing his inconsistencies.’

    Rubbish, he’s as popular as Julia the liar.

  37. August 6, 2012 10:11 pm

    From Getup!’s unison megaphone:

    Mr Mclean said the GetUp! position, which has not previously been articulated, was consistent with the group’s opposition to regulation of the internet.

    “The proposals that are on the table are not something we would support,” Mr Mclean said.

    “We believe in freedom of the press, and the model of regulation that has been put forward seems to us to cut across that important freedom.

    “Governments shouldn’t be choosing who gets to picking and choosing who gets to have a voice and who doesn’t.”

    He said the marketplace should determine what views were tolerated in the media.

    “If people don’t like what is being written, they can stop buying it or find another way to get their message out,” Mr Mclean said.

    “In an age of online news and media, there are myriad sources of news, and readers will be the arbiters.”

    Oh wait. That was reported in the Australian. That means he could not have said it. In fact he probably said the opposite. Remember, comrades and fellow Earthians, If it is not reported on the ABC or Green/Left Weekly it didn’t happen. Better check with him quickly though, before he gets booted for heresy.

  38. armchair opinionator permalink
    August 6, 2012 10:20 pm

    Here ya go. Like I said, it’s clearly ridiculous…

    I’ll have a look at that when I breakthrough the paywall tony.

    Of course the libertarian argument is always one-sided, anti-government regulation, but they completely disregard other basic human rights of people in areas of equality and protection from discrimination etc. Not only must there be freedom from government, there must be an equal freedom from private power. We don’t all subscribe to free market ideology.

    Media regulation debate clouded by appeals to simplistic notions of free speech:

    …Freedom of speech is of course a crucial human right. But it is not unlimited: clearly one cannot falsely yell “fire” in a crowded theatre. Regulation of the media can accord with human rights: overregulation does not.

    The Institute of Public Affairs [IPA] has been one of the loudest advocates of free speech arguments against media regulation. Yet its version of “freedom” is solely focused on freedom from the government….

    …But human rights are not only about freedom. They are also about fairness and equal opportunity. And while human rights are most obviously about constraining government power, an increasingly recognised aspect of human rights is its role in constraining private power. “Free speech” is relevant not only to media freedom from overly intrusive government regulation but also to protection of journalistic freedom against overly intrusive private owners and editorial diktats. If the latter is omitted from the equation, media outlets can become mere mouthpieces for the very loud exercise of “free speech” by powerful people drowning out alternative interests and views. Especially those of the poor and powerless, who tend not to own many media sites.

  39. armchair opinionator permalink
    August 6, 2012 10:32 pm

    He said the marketplace should determine what views were tolerated in the media.

    Well, I would have to disagree with GetUp’s view if that is what it is. Because the marketplace can distort and censor views and ordinary people without wealth and influence, do not have equal power to participate in the market.

  40. el gordo permalink
    August 7, 2012 7:47 am

    There is a James Hansen opinion piece in today’s SMH, its a distortion of the truth.

    ‘The future is now. And it is hot.’

    Read more:

    It pisses me off Kitty and you know why, but I’m sure you’ll read it and see nothing wrong. Its only one person’s opinion and hopefully, in the not too distant future, we will have someone’s else’s opinion saying temperatures have been as flat as a tack for more than a decade.

    A balance of opinion is what we are after…

  41. August 7, 2012 8:37 am

    “A balance of opinion is what we are after…”

    Who is this “we” that you speak of…?

  42. Splatterbottom permalink
    August 7, 2012 10:16 am

    In this piece Bolt makes perfect sense. The example he uses shows everything that is wrong and rotten with these types of laws. There are just another way of shutting up your political opponents.

  43. el gordo permalink
    August 7, 2012 10:56 am

    ‘Who is this “we” that you speak of…?’

    Bolt, Assange and me.

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